“Forming bonds with your neighbors”

I really enjoyed writing this article because of the interview Eleanor and I had outside on a bench in downtown Jonesborough.

Intern working to bring farmers to film

Published Aug. 5, 2014 in the Herald & Tribune

The Town of Jonesborough will be featured in a film highlighting farmers, thanks to the work of an intern who arrived in town in June.

Eleanor Goodrich, a Marion, Va., resident, arrived in Jonesborough at the end of June to work as a media intern volunteer until the end of August. Goodrich, a Volunteers in Service to America volunteer was hired by Appalachian Resource Conservation and Development for the summer position.

Goodrich and Veronica Limeberry, an AmeriCorps Vista member, are providing assistance for Jonesborough Locally Grown. Limeberry is a community development coordinator with the Appalachian Coal Country Team, which is in partnership with ARC&D and Jonesborough Locally Grown.

Eleanor Goodrich

Eleanor Goodrich

After graduating from William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., two years ago with a degree in social justice, media and environmental studies, the task of finding a job was difficult for Goodrich. She worked on her family farm in Marion for some time before she was hired by the nonprofit.Her family purchased the farm seven years ago and found themselves in the middle of a farming community. Their farm produces beef, lamb, pork, goat, veal, eggs and honey. They also have a garden that supplies produce and ginger to local markets.

“Local farmers know each other in the Appalachians,” she explained. “There’s a sense of helping each other out.”

Goodrich’s love of the farm only intensified her passion for helping other farmers.

“I can’t think of a way I can get more connected with the land,” she said.

Goodrich said when she is working to make food to feed the people in the mountains, it is one of the few things she can do with her time that is clearly good.

Her love of the farming community shines through her work with ARC&D.

Goodrich said the organization works with conserving the resources and the community, while building the economy locally. This summer, ARC&D’s focus is on local farming, food and the importance agriculture has for the economy.

“We are trying to connect farmers to resources, farmers to markets and locals to the markets,” she said.

The ultimate goal is getting the food from the farms to the locals to help with the demand. She said they are trying to encourage individuals to look for foods that are grown by their neighbors.

As a media intern, Goodrich is working on making a short film by documenting the work of farmers. She hopes to showcase six farms in the film, which includes the White’s Farm and Dusty Saylor’s farm, both of Jonesborough.

“It’s been really fun visiting the farms,” she said. “It helps remind me why I am doing this.”

Goodrich said the film will contain interviews of why they are farming. She said she has found that most farmers are passionate about selling locally. The film will also track what the farmers are doing and how the community can support them.

In Jonesborough, the community supports its farmers through the Saturday farmers market and soon to be store, Boone Street Market.

She said the farmers market provides a place to allow farmers to stay in the area and have income.

“It’s a real way to connect and build on our community and keep the tradition our grandparents started,” she said. “You are forming bonds with your neighbors that we haven’t had for a while. It’s a return to our traditions and back to our roots.”

After arriving in Jonesborough, Goodrich said she was very impressed to find a market that thrives in a small town, especially since it runs on volunteer efforts and focuses on local growers.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of that and work for them,” she said of the market. “They have such great visions for the farm store and I think it’s going to be wonderful.”

Goodrich said she hopes the film will tell everyone what is going on in the town of Jonesborough because there is so much good happening.

Although a film screening will be shown at the end of August, the location is yet to be determined. Goodrich said the film will be included on the website, http://www.arcd.org.

In addition to the film, Goodrich and Limeberry are working on a series of resource flyers to help inform farmers of what resources are available to them. The flyers will include conferences and events, as well as organizations farmers can go to for such assistance as grants.

“A new farmer or a farmer that is not super involved in the community can tap into those resources,” Goodrich explained.

A quarterly newsletter is also in the process of being put together by the two women, which is expected to launch at the end of August.

Those interested in receiving that newsletter can email veronica@arcd.org to be placed on the mailing list.


“Arguably stand the test of time”

Murals highlight Jonesborough events

Published in Herald & Tribune June 3, 2014 issue

A splash of color has been added to the wrought iron fence behind Boone Street Market bringing additional character to downtown Jonesborough through the images of murals.

McKinney Center Director Theresa Hammons said an unveiling of the murals took place May 23 in conjunction with The Farmers Market open house.

“The plaza has been redone for a couple of years now,” she said. “The original idea was to have the murals there. It really makes the plaza look fantastic.”

Bill Bledsoe, who designed the four murals, said the Town of Jonesborough had asked him if he had any ideas for the metal dividers that are a part of the accent wall. He said over the years he and his wife have walked past the buildings and dividers more than 100 times, as ideas have formulated in his mind of what could be done.

Since there are so many events that take place in Jonesborough that are related to seasons, he thought each panel could represent winter, spring, summer and fall.

“I created an illustration that references the Garden Gala, the Jonesborough Days, storytelling and the Progressive Dinners,” Bledsoe said.

The first series of murals was created as miniature drawings. He said those original pieces were enlarged and received very well.

In an effort to involve students from both the Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts and Providence Academy, Bledsoe drew out the schematic of the image in thick black marker. He said the idea was to have the youngsters paint between the lines in any color they chose.

Thirty students from the Mary B. Martin Program for the Arts at the McKinney Center contributed to one of the murals, while Bledsoe’s students from Providence Academy left their artistic touches on the remaining three.

“We had students this semester that were taking basic drawing, studio art, hand building clay and mosaic classes,” Hammons said.

She said the McKinney Center hosted a student art exhibition reception on May 8, which also included the opportunity for the students to paint some color onto the mural.

“All of those students came that evening and helped paint the murals,” Hammons said. “We had refreshments and drinks, and then they painted.”

Bledsoe also worked with his secondary students at Providence throughout the week so they could be included in the process. He said his students were intimately involved in the process as they watched him work on the mural, as well as having a personal hand in the creation.

“They watched me compose it and do it as a blind contour and refine it and develop the line drawing,” Bledsoe said.

The students used the primary colors of red, yellow and blue paints for the murals.

“When you look at all those oranges, greens and purples, they were all made from red, yellow and blue,” he said.

Once the colors, drawings and sayings were completed on the murals, Bledsoe painted a glaze on top.

“I had to go back on top of them and work on them,” he said. “I did layers, so the writing and colors could be seen when you get up close to it.”

Bledsoe said he was very happy with how the murals turned out, especially the Jonesborough Days mural, which was his favorite.

“It is so powerful when you look at it from a distance,” he said. “When you get up to it, you see the colors.”

The murals, Bledsoe said are pieces of artwork that can arguably stand the test of time and mean something to the people of Jonesborough for years to come.

Karen Childress, executive director of Boone Street Market, said in conjunction with the unveiling of the artwork and the celebration of the beautification of the plaza, Jonesborough Locally Grown announced that the renovation and expansion of the Boone Street Market will begin in June.

“The reason we are at the jumping off point (and) able to start renovation, is that Jonesborough Locally Grown has had a successful fundraising campaign, raising close to $80,000 earmarked for the building renovation through the support of individuals, civic clubs, organizations, businesses and the county commission,” she said.

Those who attended the store “before” open house also had an opportunity to see the building before renovations began, as well as an opportunity to preview the project’s floor plan.

Childress said they are turning the garage area into the sales and display floor for the grocery store area, which will have an assortment of food products produced within 100 miles of Jonesborough. The floor plan also showed the current restroom area being gutted and turned into kitchen space.

“The current entry door will be an itsy bitsy cafe area as you go into the store,” Childress said.

The building will also have the addition of new restrooms and storage areas.

“The whole store idea is not a replacement of the Saturday market, it’s an expansion of it,” she said. “It will compliment the Saturday market.”

An announcement also was made regarding the Friends of Locally Grown during the “before” open house. Memberships are $50 annually and are available at the Saturday market or online at http://www.jonesborough.locallygrown.net.

Childress said the memberships will support the start up and ongoing operating costs of the store and Jonesborough Locally Grown. All members will receive a 5 percent discount on store purchases once the store opens.

The market is tentatively scheduled to open sometime in July, and a job description for a full-time manager to staff the store will be publicized in June.


‘Cape Harbour, a Yachting Community’

When I worked for the Cape Coral Daily Breeze I covered many events at Cape Harbour. It really is a unique community. I enjoy writing for this publication, Community Lifestyles, because it’s intersting to learn what each community has to offer in Southwest Florida.

“Community Lifestyles showcases some of the finest communties found throughout Southwest Florida.”

Cape Harbour

Article published in December 2013 Community Lifestyles Cape Coral

Cape Harbour, a yachting community in Cape Coral offers a variety of public events, shopping and dining opportunities for its residents and community at large to enjoy.

Cape Harbour came to life after Will Stout traveled to Southwest Florida from Atlanta to retire from 30 years of developing properties and owning a real estate brokerage. When arriving in Cape Coral, he discovered a 150-acre waterfront property, which he transferred into his vision of an upscale waterfront community.

In 2000, Stout formed and founded Realmark Development.

Scan0001The community offers estate homes, waterfront villas, coach homes, condominiums, rental homes and “Funky Fish Houses.”

Realtor Ted Stout said the Funky Fish Houses, which includes Gulf of Mexico access, range from $650,000 to $900,000. He said the neat thing about the residential homes, which range from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet, is they are built over the water because Realmark Group owns the water rights.

The community offers a marina that has 76 wet slips and dry storage for boats up to 34 feet in length. Stout said there also is a bait shop, rentals for kayaks and paddleboards and fishing charters. Individuals can also rent a boat by day, join a boat club or hire a guide to go out on the water.

Event Manager Glenda Swager said there are seven merchants related to marine services in Cape Harbour.

There also are 11 boutique shops along the Promenade with the High Maintenance Salon and Day Spa. She said Harbour View Gallery, which offers unique items, has recently expanded their business.

“Even with the tight economy, we have stayed full. We are very happy with that.” Swager said. “It’s because we do the events and bring people here.”

There are two new merchants coming onboard in January – The Wish List and Waterside Wine Club.

The shops are open all week-long from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Swager said.

The community also has four restaurants and a coffee shop that offers coffee, breakfast and lunch items.

There is also live music every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday between the towers and Motown music on Wednesday, as well as live music on Saturday at Pignoli on the Harbour.

The community offers signature events every year, which are open to the residents and the public.

“Our event calendar is always full,” Swager said.

Cape HarborThe 23rd annual Tour De Cape, which always takes place in January, has been held at Cape Harbour for the past four years. (The 2014 run and cycling event has been set for Saturday, Jan. 18, for the 5K and Sunday, Jan. 19, for 15-mile, 30-mile, 60-mile and 100-mile bike ride.) Water and Wheels, another signature event, always takes place in March.

The Farmers Market is held from May until September every year and the annual Great American Picnic Lunch, which includes the famous Patriotic Pet Contest, is held on July 4.

Swager said they recently held Holiday Magic, which has been held the weekend before Thanksgiving for the past seven years, to kick off the holidays. The event includes an appearance by Santa and a tree lighting ceremony.

The final signature event of the year is their New Year’s Eve fireworks show and balldrop to be held this year on Tuesday, Dec. 31.

Swager said in addition to the signature events, they also hold many fishing tournaments throughout the year, as well as a variety of 5K’s.

“They are all public events,” she said. “We never charge, unless it’s a fishing tournament, then you pay your dues for the tournament.”

A new event has been added to the calendar for next year, the 1st Annual Racing for Cancer Causes Bed Race. Swager said the race will consist of five-member teams who design a bed for various races.

There is also a clubhouse for the residents to enjoy, which includes a fitness center, tennis courts, basketball courts, a full kitchen, pool and showers. Stout said there are three pools for residents to use depending on where they live.

‘Win-Win Partnership’

I began covering the monthly Mayor and Aldermen board meetings for the town of Jonesborough recently as one of my beats for the Herald & Tribune. The farmers market, which was on the agenda for the two meetings I had to cover, was approved this past week. I’m excited to visit it once it’s up and going.

Article published in the Dec. 17, 2013 issue of the Herald & Tribune

Lease paves way for Boone Street Market

The Town of Jonesborough and the Jonesborough Farmers Market was approved during the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting last week, paving the way for the opening of the Boone Street Market sometime next year.

“If you are talking about a win-win partnership, this is your prototype,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said.

He said the market needs a little help, and the town has the perfect space for it.

“I predict this Farmers Market to do really, really well with this location,” Wolfe said.

The lease agreement was made for a location on Boone Street once used as an Exxon gas station. The lease will take effect on Jan. 1, 2014, and will terminate on Jan. 31, 2017.

“The individuals involved in the Farmers Market are very passionate about their pursuit, and that is one of the key ingredients for any successful venture in Jonesborough,” Wolfe said. “This space is the logical choice for a very successful Farmers Market operation.”

The market has agreed to pay $1 per year subject to meeting the following criteria: increase sales opportunities for local farmers; provide farmers the use of a commercial kitchen to make additional, salable products from their harvest; offer visitors and residents ready access to fresh, locally-produced food; and support the economic development of Jonesborough through a year-round, six-day-a-week business in downtown.

The agreement states that the Town of Jonesborough may review the financial records prior to the expiration of the lease to determine whether the market has the financial capacity to pay some reasonable amount of rent and, therefore, make an adjustment in the rent. That must be done in a 90-day written notice to the market.

During the first two years of the lease, the Town of Jonesborough will pay one-half of the utility payments for electrical, gas and water associated with the operation of the building. After that two-year period, the arrangement will be reviewed to determine if an adjustment needs to be made.

The Boone Street Market will offer produce, meats, eggs, cheese, dairy, pasta, baked goods, processed foods and ready to eat foods that are grown within 100 miles of Jonesborough.

The lease states the market will have a minimum schedule of operation from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Store Project Coordinator Karen Childress said she thinks the lease is great and a generous offer. She said she is incredibly thankful for the support the town is putting behind the market to make it work.

“We have been working on this for months now,” Childress said. “This is the end of a long process. There were no surprises.”

The plaza the market will occupy, she said, is a beautiful public space, and the location is both visible and inviting to the public.

With the lease in place, funding is being sought in order to renovate the building, which is estimated to cost roughly $142,000.

The first donation of $3,500 has been offered by Farm Credit Services, and will be presented on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

“It’s really exciting that Farm Credit Services is interested in this project,” Childress said. “They stepped up to get the ball rolling.”

The Town of Jonesborough will keep track of all donations and contributions for the market, which will be tax-deductible.

Town Administrator Bob Browning is working closely with Childress on generating some funding through grants.

“We think it’s a really good thing,” he said of the market. “It provides an opportunity for those sales to go on at least six days a week.”

Browning also said the agreement has ramifications for healthy eating for area residents and the ability to support those who are trying to generate income from growing quality produce locally.

“The (Farmers Market) board has really top-notch people, and the business plan is well thought out,” Browning said. “They spent time doing research and making good decisions. We are impressed.”

Browning went on to say he has every reason to think the outlet store will be successful.